We're three weeks into the general election campaign and the two gubernatorial candidates still have not had a face-to-face exchange.
Don't blame Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey. Slightly behind in the polls and constrained in her spending by public financing laws, Mrs. Sauerbrey is eager to do battle with Democrat Parris N. Glendening.
But the Prince George's County executive has played hard to get.
He turned down WBAL-TV, which wanted the two candidates to appear together on an interview program. The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce and WETA-TV in Washington also pressed for debates. Mrs. Sauerbrey was ready for both. Mr. Glendening said no.
As of now, the two candidates are scheduled to make only three joint appearances: one at an evening forum in Ocean City, one on Montgomery County cable television, and one on Maryland Public Television.
"I think he fears her superior knowledge of state issues in a face-to-face confrontation," said Carol Hirschburg, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Sauerbrey. "I think he fears the comparison between his positions and hers."
Nonsense, says David Seldin, Mr. Glendening's spokesman.
"It's a short campaign. You can only do a certain number of things," Mr. Seldin said. "We're doing a number of forums."
A one-man PAC?
State Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad isn't running for re-election, but that's not stopping him from raising money. Saturday night, he's having a $35-a-head cookout in his Annapolis neighborhood for a few hundred supporters.
Some of the proceeds will go to the League of Conservation Voters. The rest will go to Mr. Winegrad, who will in turn transfer the money to candidates of his choosing.
Mr. Winegrad, one of the legislature's leaders on environmental issues, has in effect turned himself into a one-man political action committee.
"I'm doing this as sort of a parting concern to help environmental candidates," Mr. Winegrad said.
He is expecting U.S. Reps. Steny H. Hoyer and Wayne Gilchrest to attend, along with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
The senator declined to say which candidates he will help with contributions.
Mr. Winegrad downplayed any comparisons between himself and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., who between them have given more than $105,000 to various legislative candidates.
"I don't have gross amounts of money here," Mr. Winegrad said. At most, he said, he expects to have about $5,000 to contribute to others.
Call it a mini-PAC.
They weren't persuaded
From the No Surprise Department comes news that the Maryland Classified Employees Association has endorsed Mr. Glendening. This despite Mrs. Sauerbrey's pledge that she would give state workers a pay raise even as she was cutting income taxes.
The union's board had "grave concern over Mrs. Sauerbrey's proposal to cut income taxes . . . while pretending that the lost revenue will not hurt public employees," an MCEA press release said.